Could Greinke be an option for Yankees if they can’t land Lee?

Apr. 05, 2010 - Kansas City, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES - epa02105037 Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri USA, 5 April 2010.

The bidding war between the Yankees and Rangers over Cliff Lee is about to begin. According to the New York Post, the Rangers are prepared to make an official five-year offer to Lee, but the Yankees are ready to go as high as $23 million annually to secure the lefty’s services.

But for a moment, let’s assume that Lee wants to return to the Rangers. Let’s assume that the millions of dollars that the Rangers are offering are more than enough to by-pass the trillions of dollars that the Yankees are willing to fork over.

What is the Yankees’ fallback plan?

The postseason proved last year that the Bombers need pitching. Who knows what kind of production they’ll get from A.J. Burnett next year and it appears as though Andy Pettitte is set to retire. CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes aren’t going to cut it by themselves.

So what about Zack Greinke? The Royals seem ready to trade the righty in order to restock their farm system and the 27-year-old won the Cy Young two years ago. Up until recently he wasn’t willing to waive his no-trade clause to play for a big-market team (which includes the Yankees, obviously). He’s had anxiety problems in the past and we’ve seen the Big Apple chew up and spit out pitchers like Javier Vazquez and Jeff Weaver before.

But a source told Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that Greinke is now open to moving to a big-market club. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready to take on New York, but if the Yankees miss out on Lee you can bet they’ll at least pick up the phone and see what it would take to land the right hander. He’s coming off a bad year but he has a 3.82 career ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, not to mention he’s only 27. (Compared to Lee, who is 32.)

The winter meetings get kicked off next week, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Cliff Lee situation plays out. It’ll be even more interesting to see what the Yankees do if Lee decides to return to Texas.

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